Another great trip! All went very smoothly. Many thanks to Reid for all his hard work.
Helpful advice and information on initial booking of flights and easy to contact Jessie and colleagues with follow up queries. All flights worked well for us and all were perfectly on time so it was a great holiday - thank you.
Another fantasic service from Ethan and his team, particularly when we had a couple of issues on our trip to Oz. Will definitely be using DialAFlight again for our next trip.
So nice to have the reassurance that you have someone to help if issues arise when travelling.
Just want to say how brilliant Gino Lamonby has been. This is the second time I've used DialAFlight and Gino, in particular, and he has been outstanding. All the arrangements went very smoothly, everything was very well organised and went 100% to plan. Nothing was too much trouble for him, and he was very kind and patient. Brilliant!
Long trip to Melbourne from Manchester was faultless.
Everything went OK. Luckily there were no flight delays and I was OK to book my seats 48 hours before departure.
Let me know if any offers come up in 2024 and 2025. Also on reverse flight for 2 coming from Melbourne in 2024.
Helpful, courteous, listened and delivered
Superb - worked like clockwork
Always super helpful and responsive
Callum was fabulous, everything worked as promised and he kept his cool when we kept changing things! Would recommend all day long
All flights worked out perfectly, thank you so much.
Many thanks to Ross who has always worked out everything for us.
Used DialAFlight on 4 occasions now and each time they proved to be spot on with my requirements. Spencer was professional, friendly and helpful in the extreme and answered all questions or requests. His suggestion to use the transit hotels in Singapore was a game changer!
Excellent service as always
Great trip, all connections worked well. First time with Cathay Pacific, would fly with them again. Thanks for efficient service.
Excellent and supportive service again.
I have used DialAFlight for a number of years and found the service excellent - it’s always good to know you have support when you’re far away from home
Robert Maclean is a great asset, always helpful and full of knowledge. A big thank you yet again.
Everything went smoothly - great company
Excellent service as always from Nick and his team.
Excellent arrangements as ever. Will be in touch when arranging more flights
Paying extra for seats worked well. Thank you for your speedy and effective booking. I always recommend you to friends.
Visa instructions for Australia could do with a little more guidance otherwise arrangements for another excellent trip were provided by DialAFlight.
Thank you for organising our flights - brilliant service - thank you very much
I always contact DAF for my trips to Australia or other exotic places and you are always great! Superb deals, great communication by phone, email or app - excellent response time when for example I had about 10 seconds to organise a visa! I have always recommended you and genuinely will be back next year - can I go to Vietnam please?
Fantastic help experience and value for money. DialAFlight will be my first choice for any long haul travel from now on.
Les and his team did another fantastic job organising every detail for me - wouldn’t go anywhere else. Total professional .
The Great Ocean Road. Its name alone sounds leagues cooler than any of the world's bucket-list road trips. And that's before you've even begun to appreciate the vast beaches, towering limestone cliffs, and sparkling eucalyptus forests that make this Australian coast road so special.
The highway hugs the underbelly of the state of Victoria, linking Melbourne to the east with the old port city of Warrnambool to the west, threading through a series of seaside towns.
Once settlements for gold rush diggers, these ports now throng with wetsuit-clad holidaymakers in summer (Nov to Feb) and have their own wild charm in winter.
Coaches 'do' The Road in a day, but I opt for a small group tour, which spreads the journey over a night or two and is happy to go off-piste.
'Our tours are all about the detours,' says our guide Jeremy, a walking library of stories, anecdotes and Aboriginal folklore.
Jeremy scoots around Melbourne to collect me and the Scots – a 60-something couple from Aberdeen who are nearing the end of a six-week visit to Oz. And then we're off.
Our first stop is Geelong. It was the old mayor of this port city who, in 1918, decided to build a tourist route to rival California's Big Sur. He enlisted 3,000 ex-servicemen and set them to work, ignoring the government's fear that such a road 'would encourage invaders'. (The country was still licking its war wounds).
For 15 years the soldiers toiled away with their picks and shovels, hacking into the craggy hillside.
Hard yakka, as the Aussies would say. Peering down sheer cliff faces, I imagine such a soothing ocean-scape must have offered better post-traumatic rehabilitation than any therapist.
My neck aches from looking out of the window as we travel west towards Torquay, birthplace of surfing brand Quiksilver. We're here over Easter, prime surf season, and the annual Rip Curl championships – the longest running surf contest in the world – are in full swing.
Jeremy slows down the van to let a woman cross the road, her salty hair dripping on to her face, and tanned arms holding a surfboard. 'That's Stephanie Gilmore,' he says casually. 'Six-time world champion Australian surfer.'
I get the impression that such a sighting is commonplace so I give a breezy nod, but my inner surfer is dancing with excitement. Onwards to Anglesea, where I see my first kangaroo over on the local golf course.
These animals are so robust, Jeremy says, that 'they do little more than blink when hit by a golf ball'.
A few minutes further on is Kennett River, where I stand with my arms outstretched holding handfuls of sunflower seeds as four iridescent parrots land on my head and shoulders. 'Would you like a turn?' Jeremy asks the Scots, but they're too busy oohing and aahing over a koala snoozing in the nook of a tree above us.
Next is Lorne, with its strip of surf shops, second-hand bookshops and organic juice cafes.
A young hipster in Ray-Bans and bare feet strums Van Morrison on his guitar while overlooking the sands where children trip over the cords of their boogie boards.
Their professional counter-parts, meanwhile, sit straddling surfboards well out to sea, bobbing nonchalantly on the swell, waiting for a wave worth riding. Engrossed in watching them, I trip on a cockatoo taking a stroll along the promenade, its little yellow mohican perfectly coiffed.
We spend the night at Beacon Point Ocean View Villas, luxury cabins in the hills above Apollo Bay, and feast on fresh fish at Chris's Restaurant with a front row view of the waves in the dusk.
The next morning we reach the legendary Twelve Apostles – a cluster of giant limestone stacks protruding from the water, their bottoms nibbled by the waves.
The Twelve Apostles provide stark evidence that the coastline of Australia must be eroding at a rate of knots. An arch called London Bridge, sculpted over the centuries, collapsed so suddenly a few years ago that a group of tourists found themselves stranded on the seaward side and had to be helicoptered to safety.
Our final stop is Loch Ard Gorge, where the wreck of the Loch Ard ship was tossed ashore by a fearsome storm in the winter of 1878. Jeremy takes out an old wooden chest from the van – inside which are black-and-white photographs of the only two survivors of the disaster, a newspaper article about the wreckage, and a handful of rusty spoons from the ship.
Turning these barnacle-clad utensils in my hand, I muse that over two days, my notion that Australia offers little by way of history has sunk faster than the vessel itself.
First published in the Daily Mail - January 2017
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